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Profile of the Day: Florence Bascom

On this day in 1862, geologist and educator Florence Bascom was born. A pioneer of her field, Bascom is considered to be the first female geologist in America.

Image: Florence Bascom / Smithsonian Institution, Flickr

Bascom was born on July 14, 1862 in Williamstown, Massachusetts. She was the youngest surviving child of John Bascom, a professor at Williams College, and Emma Curtiss, a teacher and women’s right’s activist. Both of her parents were strong supporters of education and encouraged their children to go to college. After earning two bachelor degrees from the University of Wisconsin, Bascom went on to earn a PhD in geology from Johns Hopkins University, becoming the first woman to graduate from the university with that degree and the second woman in the United States to earn a PhD.

In 1895, she joined the faculty at Bryn Mawr College where she founded the department of geology. Under her direction, the department became one of the best geological departments in the country. With a strong emphasis on lab and fieldwork, the department trained many successful female geologists. In 1896, she was appointed assistant geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, becoming the first woman to be employed by the agency.

In her 33-year career, Bascom made several significant scientific discoveries and helped train an entire generation of women geologists. She died on June 18, 1945 at the age of 82.

Explore Florence Bascom’s family tree on Geni and share your connection!

View Florence Bascom’s Geni Profile

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The post Profile of the Day: Florence Bascom first appeared on The Geni Blog.


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